Sunday, August 15, 2010


Mariano Rivera greatest Yankee since Mickey Mantle-Moulton

"Thursday afternoon and evening a pair of Jonathan’s imploded: Jonathan Papelbon of the Boston Red Sox and Jonathan Broxton of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Papelbon gave up three runs in the ninth inning to lose a game against Toronto. Broxton did one better, giving up four runs in the ninth to lose to the Phillies.

it made me wonder if maybe there is a certain Yankee

Tough to pull off since he makes $15 million per season and is a lock for the Hall of Fame, but

Yes, I know what I just said. Better than Thurman, Reggie, Mattingly, Winfield, Bernie, Posada, Pettitte, A-Rod and dare I say ...

If your team was three outs from winning the World Series and protecting a one-run lead today,

The answer is so easy, the question seems laughable, despite the fact that Rivera turns 41 in November.

Papelbon and Broxton combined gave up more earned runs Thursday than Rivera has all year (7 to 5). Papelbon, 29, and Broxton, 26, are both 6-foot-4 and over 225 pounds.

Rivera looks like a middle-aged executive. He’s 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and has lost a yard off his fastball. The man they simply call “Mo”

Yet his ERA is 1.06. That’s because he gave up a run on Wednesday.

Only once in the last eight years has his final ERA been above 1.94. Once!

And he throws one pitch, two ways. A fastball. Straight and cut.

His size, demeanor and stuff should make him the most unassuming closer in baseball.

I mean Tyson at his peak, Tiger in 2000, the Patriots offense in 2007 and the SEC in the national championship game, feared.

How does he do it? He credits God. By now,

Largely because his 550 regular season saves and career 2.21 ERA pale in comparison

He’s statistically three times better in the fall

Rivera has pitched in 88 playoff games and given up 11 earned runs.

He has blown just four saves against the best teams in baseball

inherited the tying run on third with no outs.

of his throwing error (Game 7 of the 2001 World Series).

That despite there being no more important player in baseball,

Remarkably after elbow surgery in the minors, he was left unprotected in the 1993 expansion draft.

Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number in 1997. Everyone wearing No. 42 then was allowed to keep it until their career was over. Rivera will be the last man to wear No. 42 in the history of Major League Baseball. Fitting, for as former Twins manager Tom Kelly once said of Rivera, “He needs to pitch in a higher league.”

So take the time over the next eight to 10 weeks to stop and marvel at the unassuming middle-aged Panamanian,

Even if it is football season."

"David Moulton is a freelance writer. He co-hosts “Miller and Moulton in the Afternoon,” which airs weekdays 2 to 7 p.m. on WWCN/AM 770 ESPN. His column runs Sunday, Wednesday and Friday."

*"Gary Bolte Says:

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